If you’re anything like me, the greatest pleasures of the holiday season are the cooking and baking and preparing of special dishes for a whole group of people to enjoy.
Baking, in particular, with the warmth from the oven and the delicious smells wafting through the house makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
But it can be taxing! (Especially if you want to have an assortment of cookies for people to choose from.)
Unless, of course, you have a master cookie dough recipe.
That was what I was looking for this year, so I began thumbing through the classic tome, Joy of Cooking, where I found a 14-in-1 master recipe.
The only trouble with the recipe as it stands, however, is that it calls for substitutions. For example, for the spice cookies they want you to trade the white sugar that’s in the recipe for packed light brown sugar, and for the chocolate recipe it says to take out some of the flour and put in some cocoa powder.
Making substitutions like that however, in my mind, defeats the whole purpose of a master recipe.
So in the recipe below, which I’ve adapted from this 14-in-1 master recipe, all five cookie types that I make use the master cookie dough recipe as their base. Then I add in whatever tweaks I want, for example, chocolate, or spices, to make each batch come out a little different.
5-in-1 Master Cookie Recipe
- 1 C. butter at room temperature
- 1 C. superfine sugar To make superfine sugar, pulse granulated sugar in food processor for 30 seconds.
- 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1 egg yolk large
- 1 egg large
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
- 5 tsp. strawberry jam use any jam you like
- 1/2 tsp. molasses
- pinch of cloves
- 1/4 tsp. ginger powder
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. turbinado sugar any chunky sugar will work
- 2 tsp. nonpareil sprinkles
Double Chocolate Cookies
- 1 tbsp. cocoa powder either Dutch-processed or natural or a combination of both
- 1/3 C. chocolate chips
Peanut Butter Cookies
- 2 tbsp. smooth peanut butter
- In a large bowl use a hand mixer to cream together the butter, salt, and sugar until light and fluffy. 3-5 minutes.
- Add one egg yolk and mix well.
- Add one whole egg and vanilla and mix well.
- On low speed add the flour in a couple of batches or use your hands to work the mixture into a dough.
- Divide the dough into 5 equal parts. Add the add-ins of your choice.
- Wrap the dough and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375˚F/190˚C for 6-8 minutes.
- Cool for a few minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.